How can I tell if I am an independent contractor?

The key factor used to determine whether a California worker is an independent contractor or an employee is the degree of control the hiring entity exercises. The more control a boss has over the manner and means by which you perform your work, the more likely it is that an employment relationship exists and that you are an employee.

California uses the “ABC test” to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee for wage and hour purposes. Generally, you should be classified as an employee unless your employer can show that you meet the test’s three conditions:

  1. You are free from the hiring entity’s control and direction when performing your work.
  2. You provide services or work outside the regular scope of the hiring entity’s business.
  3. You carry out work that is customarily provided through an independently established trade or business of the same nature as the work performed.

If an employer cannot show that you meet all three of the above requirements, you are an employee even if the hiring entity calls you an independent contractor. Independent contractors typically have the freedom to work on a freelance basis and take on projects for multiple clients at the same time. They can often decide where, when and how they carry out their tasks.

Employees work for a company, person or government body. When an employment relationship exists, the employer has control over the employee’s hours, wages and working conditions.

The distinction between independent contractors and employees is important as it affects so many aspects of your work. Misclassification can have serious consequences for workers. Misclassified workers are often underpaid and denied the protections of California’s labor laws.

Employees have significant labor rights that independent contractors do not. They may be entitled to minimum wage, overtime pay, meal breaks and rest periods, and unemployment insurance.

Determining what type of worker you are can be tricky. If you suspect you have been misclassified, you should reach out to an experienced employment lawyer.

The San Francisco employment attorneys at McCormack Law Firm can help you determine whether you are an independent contractor or an employee. If you were misclassified, your employer may owe you compensation for unpaid wages. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you recover the damages resulting from the misclassification.

Other Wage, Overtime & Commissions Theft FAQs:

Schedule your free consultation today: 415.925.5161

Client testimonials

This law firm was the only one to answer the phone out of the 15-20 law firms that I called that day. I had a wrongful termination case and Bryan really took the time to listen and understand what happened in my situation, and he knows the law to a T. – Shanic M.

I was owed wages and overtime and my employer refused to pay me. So I hired them to file a lawsuit. Bryan easily understood my very complicated case and I am happy with the results. – Ebi Z.

I didn’t have to pay anything, the firm took the whole risk of managing the case. Through the 14 months, Bryan always kept me updated, was very responsive and patient to questions I had. We achieved a resolution out of court in my favor, making me even happier about the experience. – Peter S.

I can honestly say that my experience with Bryan was all the way positive from day one… We had very high expectations about our case and in the end we got what we hoped for. – Roger J.

I won my trial and I got more than I expected. Everyone in the office is so nice and helpful. Even after everything was finished I could call a few weeks after and ask questions to make sure I was protected and they are more than helpful. – Husain N.

I never had to pay Bryan anything up front, nor was ever pressured to settle early. We ended up settling morning of the trial. Bryan is a really sharp, aggressive, seasoned attorney and knew the law inside and out about whistleblower cases. – Kyle B.